Living along the South River offers beautiful and scenic views, but can also come with its own unique set of challenges. Steep slopes may give you more of a birds-eye-view, but when they slump and carry the top of the hill to the bottom, they present a very unique set of obstacles.
Herman and Nancy Kling of Edgewater were brave enough to take on the challenge of restoring their slope correctly through a SmartSlope, a locally produced plantable retaining wall. This “critter friendly” wall allows animals to move up, down, and through the wall the way they could move before the slope slumped. The SmartSlope is not static – it eventually becomes habitat. Although the slope looks amazing now and will continue to flourish, this was no easy task. You would think that repairing a slope with an eco-friendly alternative to laying rocks or boarding it up would be easier. In reality, the permitting process is quite time consuming and expensive.
This is one situation where teamwork is best. According to the Klings, you need a good partnership to push the permits through. After teaming up with Permits By Pinecrest to manage the permiting process and engineering firm, Messick & Associates to draw the plans they made enough progress to contract out the project to Wade Landscapes. While SmartSlope is relatively new, the Kling’s chose Wade Landscape based on their attention to detail in understanding SmartSlope and their close working relationship with the manufacturer.
Once construction started, Mr. Kling was also impressed with how seriously both the County and contractor took erosion control. The inspector had very good follow-through and stopped by on a regular, yet random, basis to ensure that erosion was under control. The contractor, Wade Landscape, carefully maintained all the erosion control measures and would routinely remove any sediment that had built up.
The entire process took approximately 2 months to install and plant the SmartSlope. By the time everything was done, almost 700 plants were planted throughout the slope! Plants included little blue stem (Schizachyrium scoparium), false blue indigo (Baptisia australis), northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), red bud (Cercis canadensis), and service berry (Amelanchier). Although it will take some time to fully flourish, the slope already looks great and is looking better each day we get closer to summer. Eventually the SmartSlope blocks will vanish behind the growing plants creating a natural look that is environmentally friendly and provides habitat.
Their advice to someone in the same situation? Don’t give up! This may be a long process, but the end result is beautiful and good for the environment.
A special thank you to Herman and Nancy Kling for inviting us to their home and sharing their project with us! Did you go green at your home? Tell us about it and you could be the next South River Federation’s “Go Green Project of the Month!”